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Poster: William Tell Date: Jan 26, 2011 1:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: The DEAD's take on THEIR vocals...

LiA's quote below (re: Europe 72): "...The band wanted the albums to sound as good as they could make them - they weren't purists at all."

I think this helps settle "THE" issue I've harped on all along...vocals decline post 71...Right? Even the boys (I exclude Donna as "poor vocals" requires a baseline "vocal", which is absent, eh?) realized things were bad.



JK, folks! But, it is revealing, eh? FWIW, I never detected the "dubbing" of S&R (really--not until I arrived "here"), while immediately realized something was diff (in my view, "wrong") with Euro 72 at the time of the release.

So, my question is: Do you, personally, rank Live Dead (vocals only!) "behind" Euro 72? IE, do you think the dubbing "helped", and the triple album release was/is the better for it? I know the song selection is apples and oranges, but you get the idea.

Was the dubbing of a live album a good idea?

You of course know I think not; unless we could somehow take the 80s live recordings and dub them with their voices from 1970 (yes, even PHIL's!).

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Jan 26, 2011 2:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The DEAD's take on THEIR vocals...

I've never liked the overdubbed harmonies on Europe 72, they don't quite blend right with the instrumental sound and also seem to take the edge off some songs. I admit though it makes the album a really ideal introduction to the band, because a lot of people listen to the vocal melody during a song much more than the instruments, so I have always used it to try to turn people on to the band.

I agree that the band's young voices have the best blend, but the early years have some vocal issues as well. The ambitious vocal harmonies in New Potato and Born Cross-eyed didn't always work, the "burn down the fillmore gas the avalon" section in Alligator is sometimes off, and Cosmic Charlie wasn't always in-tune either.

I'm a very loving and enthusiastic deadhead and those things don't bother me, but then again I also like Late Jerry vocals and some of Donna's singing, too. Even Weir's bizarre vocal histrionics are sometimes enjoyable, or at least amusing.

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Poster: midnightcarousel Date: Jan 26, 2011 5:32pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The DEAD's take on THEIR vocals...

I think the dubbing on E72 worked. The way their voices sound on Cumberland Blues really blew me away - I couldn't believe how silky smooth the harmonies were.

This is purely from a listening perspective, though; I think it DOES make the whole thing feel less "live" but I still think that whole album sounds amazing.

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Poster: Styrofoam Cueball Date: Jan 26, 2011 11:40pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The DEAD's take on THEIR vocals...

I think the overdubs help overall, as far as putting songs in their best light. I'm always disconcerted listening to the Sugar Mag off of E72, though... one Bob is enough, do we need two (or is it three?) And I think that one is sped up, as well. And the 'Morning Dew' is very, um, 'altered' sounding... I just listen to Kongressaal (my favorite '70's Dew) instead!

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jan 27, 2011 12:26am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The DEAD's take on THEIR vocals...

Interesting. Haven't really listened to it in light of all that we know now about the overdubbing. (Two or three Bobs? Really?) Probably cuz I have more than enough new stuff to hear! I'd vote for "good idea" based on it working for me and lots of other folks back when what we heard of the band was mostly a few albums.

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Poster: hasher Date: Jan 26, 2011 2:36pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The DEAD's take on THEIR vocals...

Wasn't there some overdubbing on Live/Dead as well?

Regardless of that however I don't think its a fair comparison due to the material being so different. The songs on E72 required much more vocals that varied in the type of arrangement as opposed to LD which is basically 3 chords.

I can see what you're saying about post '71 but I'm not too sure they ever really had strong vocals at all. I think Am Beauty helped them a lot and they probably practiced the vocals a lot to record Attics. This probably halped them with vocal performances in the early 70's.

As a younger head, I used to find myself explaining to others why I felt the band was so great to people who had been around a bit longer. I would go into the amazing improvisation touching on so many different genres blah, blah, blah....and the more musically inclined who were "well listened" would always interupt me and say,"Yeah, but they couldn't sing.".

That would usually shut me up.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jan 27, 2011 12:09am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The DEAD's take on THEIR vocals...

Ah, but that shouldn't shut you up at all! That's part of the greatness. The real-ness and rawness of it. They sound like actual people, not beautiful machines.

For me, that's part of the appeal of the music from that time in general. Sure, CSNY together sounds so sweet, but Neil Young on his own? He sounds like he's singing while someone steps on his foot. But he's great! Carole King has this wonderful cracky-voiced, no-makeup sound that just makes her seem like she's comfortable being herself (and so maybe you can be yourself, too). And of course, Dylan ... yeah, right, now there's a real crooner. Pat Boone, move over.

The Dead, as in so many other things, encapsulate the values of that time and just do it to the max. The unpolished, imperfect, but somehow wonderfully real vocals included.


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Poster: William Tell Date: Jan 27, 2011 6:13am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The DEAD's take on THEIR vocals...

Early Neil! Have you heard NeedleDamDone in 70/71? Youtube it; he had an amazing voice when he worked on it.

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Poster: unclejohn52 Date: Jan 26, 2011 3:12pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The DEAD's take on THEIR vocals...

I never gave the vocals a second thought in the 70s, beyond the Donna "extravagances" you've mentioned. The sound was all about the wonderful songs and intricate guitars. Yes, the S&R and E72 are better for the overdubbing. Yeah, I'd say they're better than Live/Dead "vocally", but I'd never dream of ranking 'em that way. I think they're absolutely right to try to give us the best product they could, any way possible that could be done with integrity to the music.

I think this helps settle "THE" issue I've harped on all along...vocals decline post 71...Right?

Disagree here. I think they improved ! Bob certainly sang better, if you discount some of the yelling - better tone, diction, and phrasing. None of it up to the standards of WD and AB studio work, of course. I like Phil's vocals (his pitch is always there) but we heard less of Phil as Donna came in, and I have to call this an upgrade. As for Jerry - I love his vocals most of the time (discount fozzie-bear time), but some of the best are from 72-79 imo. Some of the early vocals are kind of nasal and country, and he worked hard to improve. I would pinpoint the vocal decline for the band to 78-79, and it's one reason I have a hard time listening through the 80s.


whoops, somehow slipped in code by mistake...

This post was modified by unclejohn52 on 2011-01-26 23:12:17

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Poster: adks12020 Date: Jan 27, 2011 5:43am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The DEAD's take on THEIR vocals...

The only two vocalists from the original Grateful Dead that I would consider to be good are Jerry and Pigpen....and their voices weren't even good in a technical sense. It was the feeling they evoked, the fact that when they sang you knew they were feeling what they were singing; that made them good. Jerry on Morning Dew, High Time, Comes a Time, Crazy Fingers...and Pig on Two Souls in Communion, Chinatown Shuffle, Mr. Charlie, Next Time You See me..just great

Bobby had his moments...mostly cowboy songs...but his voice never was technically any good either. His range is so small that I can sing his parts and I barely sing (I only do so when I'm playing guitar by myself or just jamming with friends...would never do so in public).

Phil could belt out Box of Rain but a lot of the time when he sang back up vocals he would step on, or over, the other guys and his voice would crack a lot.

So overall...anyone that knows the Grateful Dead knows their voices aren't, and never were, the main attraction. It's the whole package. The improvisation, the lyrics, the whole idea...that's what made them. So I say dub away if they feel the need. I don't need it to be there and I don't think most "heads" (hate that term but it fits) do either but the band is trying to make a good product to sell in the twilight of their careers..so do it up

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jan 27, 2011 6:05am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The DEAD's take on THEIR vocals...

Oh yeah--agree with everyone bout their vocals.

However, back in the day, it seemed somehow to be cheating.

If we were touting the band as unique, doing it all their way, best while live, etc., how would we have felt to find out "hmm, the lead's not very good here--lets dub that in too" or some such, right?

So, since we ackn'd the vocals aren't their strong suit, to me it was sorta "selling out" (lets broaden our appeal) to try to do something about it...again, nothin wrong with that, but recall, I was their Chief East Bay Self-appt salesperson, touting "there was NOTHING like a Live DEAD show" and then someone tells me "yeah, but the album's FAKE, dim-wit!"....it took the wind outta my sails for a bit there.

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Poster: madmonkmcphee Date: Jan 27, 2011 6:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The DEAD's take on THEIR vocals...

We've all been cheated! That's it, free E72 box sets for everyone!
I love GD vocals except for Bobby. Someone pointed out a while back, "the only reason Donna sounds bad is because she has to harmonize with Weir."
In total agreement with althearose and WT. Probably wouldn't listen if the vocals were perfect, I wanna hear some more screamin' Jerry!

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Poster: ringolevio Date: Jan 26, 2011 2:44pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The DEAD's take on THEIR vocals...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hXjY6ZPFT8s&;feature=related

I've got nothing against Phil's vocals NOW ... WT, I dare you ...

it's hauntingly beautiful. If you can get through 3:30 minutes ... but if you can get through 5, Phil is growling so nicely.

This post was modified by ringolevio on 2011-01-26 22:44:48

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Poster: stratocaster Date: Jan 26, 2011 4:36pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The DEAD's take on THEIR vocals...

What? Isn't the pinnacle of the dead's vocals 1986?

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Poster: RBNW....new and improved! Date: Jan 26, 2011 3:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The DEAD's take on THEIR vocals...

what live album isnt overdubbed???????

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Poster: fenario80 Date: Jan 26, 2011 5:11pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: The DEAD's take on THEIR vocals...

Without A Net, supposedly; Reckoning, for sure; Dead Set?

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